Jana Napoli was born and raised in New Orleans and continues to live there.   Originally trained as a painter, Napoli is a mixed-media artist and a creative entrepreneur deeply concerned with civic and community engagement.  In 1988, she founded YA/YA. (Young Aspirations/Young Artists) and later the Ana &  Adeline Foundation to support the YAYA Alumni.  Napoli has exhibited around the world and has received several awards for her work, among them, the Oprah Winfrey ‘Use your life award” (2002) and a President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities award (1999).   Her post Katrina installation named Floodwall continued her long-standing dedication to the intersection of art and community-building but also integrates the themes of the unspoken and the unseen that are part of her own artistic preoccupations.

The work for this show are from my Life before YAYA.

The cutouts you see are from a world that has all but vanished along with the languages that held them together: the Kaquchkel of the Guatemalan highlands painted in the early 70s, were from the central Mexico plateau. They are the Otomi of the Puebla district.  In San Miguel de Allende in the far eastern reaches of Guanajuato, Mexico I painted the Chichimeca language group through the 80s. Important to me in this group are the portraits of Lucita Cruz Monroy, a gifted woman for whom I had much respect.    


The collection of wall pieces were the templates for a frees standing show I had planned and then ,when I returned to NEW ORLEANS, there was YAYA!